RUGBY

Hooper admits he erred in Wallabies loss

Hooper admits he erred in Wallabies loss
Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper says he overestimated the Wallabies ability when they lost to Scotland.

Even skipper Michael Hooper overestimated the Wallabies, or at least showed too much faith in teammates in their shock loss to Scotland.

In another unwanted black eye for Australian rugby, the Wallabies' 24-19 defeat in Sydney has only left fans more dispirited and Michael Cheika forecasting personnel changes for Saturday's final June Test, against Italy, in Brisbane.

Once accustomed to expecting the Wallabies to beat all but maybe world champions New Zealand on home soil, fans have endured an historic 3-0 series loss to Eddie Jones's England side in Australia last year - and now this.

Cheika conceded his charges lacked urgency, saying only a handful could hold their head eye, namely Hooper, two-try fullback Israel Folau and two-Test rookie centre Karmichael Hunt, who failed a concussion test following a second-half head knock.

Cheika is hopeful Hunt will be available to take on the Azzurri, but said 'there'll be a few' changes after the Wallabies were unable to find top gear against the resurgent Scots.

After last-gasp one-point wins over Scotland in the 2015 Rugby World Cup quarter-final and then again on last year's spring tour of Europe, the Wallabies were expecting another nailbiter.

But despite Bernard Foley being Australia's hero with late goals in the Wallabies' two great escapes, Hooper repeatedly opted to kick for the corner instead, in search of an attacking lineout when they trailed by six points as the clock wound down on Saturday night.

The captain admitted he'd erred.

'I really thought we had the momentum. I'm the ultimate believer in our guys to do the job and maybe too much so tonight,' Hooper said.

'In hindsight, maybe we could have gone to to goal just to mount up a bit of pressure there.'

'However, I was feeling that we were starting to get some really good pressure built on them with the amount of time we were spending in their 22, and even in their 40, and I was waiting on a try to happen.'

'I thought it would. It got very close a couple of times.'

'Look, yeah, frustrating but plenty to look at on Monday.'

Jubilant Scotland coach Gregor Towsend was surprised the Wallabies didn't take penalty-goal points on offer to possibly give Foley the 'Ice Man' another shot at breaking Scottish hearts.

'I did think at 72 minutes, when we were five points up, would they go for three points and that would just leave it at a one score game, or a one-penalty game,' Townsend said.

'But they had success on the driven lineout in the first half, we gave away penalties and they scored a try from it.'

'But I thought the way the forwards defended that maul, and the pressure we put on that lineout was excellent throughout, especially in the second half.'

AAP